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How to Handle Every Stage of a Snowstorm

While residents of warmer clients experienced some early Spring weather, some regions have experienced extreme winter weather patterns this season and for a few of us that meant record breaking snow levels. Even right now, in some parts of the country snow is still falling, and as some may be inspired to dust off their snowboard and head to the slopes, those of us in community management know snow and ice mean a season of high alert and maintenance coordination.

Snow pack can quickly weigh down roofs, exceed the engineered load bearing capacity limits and cause leaks. Trees can strain under the pressure and break limbs or even collapse. A mix of rain, snow and warmer days can cause the melt to create icicle hazards and slick ice build-up, posing a hazard for residents. Knowing how to handle a snowstorm at every stage can minimize the damage to your community and the risks for everyone who lives in it.

Before the Snowstorm

A diligent proactive and reactive plan for efforts to address priority areas for access and safety can help a community work through this challenge. If they are identified in advance, priority removal areas, key trigger points and procedures for reporting leaks and emergencies can be disclosed. Both management and residents will find that clear and open communication can truly help streamline more prompt resolution during these trying times.

During the Snowstorm

Living in a region prone to extreme winter weather, only so much can be done to batten down the hatches and prepare for what Mother Nature is prepared to deliver. Taking the following actions can help:

  • Snow markers can be placed out to help protect curbs and obstacles that would otherwise be covered in a blanket of snow and subject to possible damage from large plows.
  • Ice melt can be applied to help with icy build up and provide additional traction for foot traffic.
  • Weather forecasts and snow levels, which trigger snow removal efforts from large machinery, hand shoveling and snow melt, can be routinely monitored.

These tasks are all a part of working together with your fellow board members and vendors on ensuring roads, parking areas and walkways are clear for access and safe travel.

After the Snowstorm

Once the snow and ice have melted, it is important to do a risk assessment of damage. This not only impacts roofing, sidewalks, fencing, siding, decks, stairways and roads, but drainage patterns as well. Increased runoff from snow melt can carry sediment and debris through the community’s engineered drainage systems, causing blockage and impeding function to deter flooding.

Although we may have a short period of relief from the weather, our job is not over. Diligently reviewing the community’s assets to assess damage and promptly addressing any problems will ensure that those assets are properly maintained and functioning as designed.

This is the time to call upon your service partners and work together as a team so we can ensure our communities are looking their best and serving their members, no matter what the season!


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About the Author

CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM® Dawn Osterode, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM® is a Nevada homeowners association industry veteran since 2002, holding multiple licenses and certifications as a Nevada reserve study specialist and licensed Nevada supervising community manager. She also specializes in developer services and providing reserve study services through Associa Reserve Studies Nevada. As an industry article contributor and educator, Dawn mentors others in providing great client satisfaction and retention.

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